Shadows across the playing field : 60 Years of India-Pakistan Cricket
Shashi Tharoor and Shaharyar Khan
As its title suggests, the book is all about cricket between the two neighbouring countries and knowing the two authors, there will be lots of vignettes and well, the odd “cricket is a bridge for peace” comment. Knowing the authors, we can also be sure of some brilliant writing. We are lining it up for review.
Cricket fans of the school is waiting for the book!!!!
Read a news item published on “Mid Day” here.
Shashi Tharoor’s romantic cricket journey
By: Clayton Murzello
Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr Shashi Tharoor’s cricketing journey has been a romantic one
DR Shashi Tharoor has not watched a cricket match in Pakistan, yet he has co-authored a book on India-Pakistan cricket. But not even a cynical view of this irony can prevent one from being convinced that the Minister of State for External Affairs is a cricket nut.
He has met the biggest of names during his travels as a diplomat, but his Friday meeting with present and former cricketers at the release function of his book Shadows Across the Playing Field was so memorable that it was quickly posted on Twitter.
During his chat with commentator Harsha Bhogle at the launch on Friday, Tharoor showed that he had a deep love for the willow game, developed in an era of simple dreams and pleasures. Unfortunately, his co-author Shaharyar Khan couldn’t make it to Mumbai; he wouldn’t miss the Ashes for anything.
In February 1967, Tharoor watched Ajit Wadekar flay a formidable Mysore team to score a Ranji Trophy triple-century at the Brabourne Stadium. Wadekar was among the audience on Friday.
Way back then
Tharoor proudly claimed that he wrote about Sachin Tendulkar in the late 1980s in the Club Cricketer magazine in England, after Sunil Gavaskar had talked to him about this young gun who could become a great. Tharoor told a few of us how he wrote that Gavaskar had led very poorly during the home series against David Gower’s Englishmen in 1984-85.
The editor of the magazine he was writing decided to amplify things after Tharoor filed in his "tough but fair" piece. The next issue rolled out with the headline: "OUT! Is Gavaskar the worst captain India’s ever had?" Naturally, it created a sense of apprehension when he came face to face with Gavaskar. After all, he did not write what the headline said. The name of the author just didn’t ring a bell, "it sprang", but Tharoor stressed Gavaskar took it sportingly.
If he admired Gavaskar "the cricketer, the batsman and the man", he regretted the lack of opportunities the talented Surinder Amarnath got. And his view that India would have made an effective one-day team had limited-overs cricket been played in the 1960s, is interesting.
Style and Kunderan
He loved Budhi Kunderan and remembered an incident during the 1964 Test against England in Mumbai. Kunderan followed up a six with a four, and then went for another big hit to be caught by John Price. As the fielder set himself for the catch, Kunderan threw his bat in the air, caught it and then straightaway headed to the pavilion. Some style that! Tharoor remembered it all, including how the England team members were laid low by illness. Hanumant Singh substituted for them and saved some runs near the boundary and was at the receiving end of a ‘traitor’ chant. Later in the series, Hanumant scored a hundred on debut to end Tharoor’s displeasure.
Now, the tough talk
As a minister now, he has to talk tough. When does he think India and Pakistan could resume cricketing ties?
Not until "Pakistan really gives us what we are repeatedly asking for: credible action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism from which these (November 2008) attacks were launched."
If and when things improve on either side of the border, the cricketing world can be assured that there will be a credible voice to help decide on when to switch to a "let’s play" mode.
Meet the Author